UPDATES WITH MORE REMARKS FROM ERDOGAN, CHANGES HEADLINE
By Fatih Hafiz Mehmet
ANKARA (AA) – On another Saturday shaken by protests in three European countries, Turkey’s president said Europe's security and welfare is not being shaken by Muslims or immigrants, but by Europe's own people.
"The walls of security and welfare that they so cherished started to be shaken not by migrants or Muslims, but by their own citizens," Recep Tayyip Erdogan told a mass opening ceremony in Istanbul.
Erdogan said those who stoked anti-migrant sentiment and Islamophobia for the sake of political populism are now falling into their own traps.
Telling how he has been following coverage from Europe’s streets with concern, Erdogan said the scenes of the Yellow Vest protesters show that Europe has failed on democracy, human rights, and freedom.
He said he opposes both the chaos caused by the protesters and the disproportionate force used against them.
Some 700 people were arrested during protests in France on Saturday, with police using pepper spray on demonstrators.
Similar protests were also seen to the northeast, in Belgium and the Netherlands.
Erdogan said sympathizers of the terror groups PKK and DHKP-C also contributed to the chaos of the protests.
He urged Western leaders to give those terrorists what they deserve and make them face the law.
"When you do this, have no doubt that you will understand Turkey better and we will be real friends with you," Erdogan added.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK — listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU — has been responsible for the deaths of nearly 40,000 people, including women and children.
The DHKP-C is responsible for a number of terror attacks in Turkey, including a 2013 attack on the U.S. Embassy in Ankara which martyred a Turkish security guard.
The group is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S., and the European Union.